September 4, 2013

Running in Ouray and Silverton

Andrea running in the San Juan Mountains

As you might expect, I did quite a bit of running in addition to all of the hiking on the San Juans trip that I've been documenting over the past week. I'm always looking for great places to run when I'm on vacation, so I'll share a few of the spots I enjoyed in Ouray and Silverton. Needless to say, there are endless trails and jeep roads that go HIGH into the mountains in this area (Hardrock!). Sometimes you are looking for something a little more mellow, though. Here's what I found...


-County Road 17 is a dirt road that parallels the west side of the Uncompahgre River. From Ouray to Ridgway, it drops about 700 feet... then you turn around and head back up. I did a fun 20 mile run on this road.
-The Uncompahgre River Trail is a (relatively) flat 2-mile gravel trail looping around on the north side of Ouray
-The Ouray Perimeter Trail is tough - lots of up and down, singletrack, etc. But if you do one run in Ouray, this is what you want to do. Waterfalls, box canyons, panoramic mountain views, etc. So much fun.


-Colorado Trail from Molas Pass. This is a high elevation run (above 11,000 feet) with quite a bit of climbing, but worth every (lung-burning) second. Andrea did a 9 mile run here, her longest in a year and by far her longest since surgery. Awesome in every way!
-Molas Lake. There is a nice loop of ~1.5 miles around the lake, and you have the option of running a spur of the CO trail up to Molas Pass.
-All around town... Silverton is pretty much all (but one) dirt roads. Its fun to just run around the town and explore. And since you're at (a minimum of) 9300 feet, you get a great burn no matter how slow you're moving!
-The Silverton track! How and why does this exist? If anyone knows, please tell me... I am very curious about this. An asphalt track at 9300 feet in a town that only has 10 students at their high school. We were fascinated by this track and ended up going there two night in a row to "play track"... 400m and 1600m time trials for "fun"... what a bunch of dorks we are! :-)

Molas Lake loop
Silverton track
Running marathon pace at 9300 feet feels like 5K pace
Andrea running a 71 second quarter in sandals just for fun!
Elevation profile of a 14 miler I did from Molas Pass

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